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Roadside Survival: Low-Tech Solutions To Automobile Breakdowns

A woman in shown on the phone next to her car as passengers look outside.

Credit: Walt Brinker

Above: A woman in shown on the phone next to her car as passengers look outside.

We're sorry. This audio clip is no longer available. A transcript has been made available.

Imagine this: You're off a main road, it's dark, you forgot your cellphone and your tire blows or your car just stops running. That roadside calamity can turn into a dangerous situation.

Photo credit: Walt Brinker

Book: Roadside Survival, by Walt Brinker

Walt Brinker, author of "Roadside Survival: Low-tech Solutions to Automobile Breakdowns," said you don't have to be a mechanic to solve many of your roadside problems.

Most people find themselves stranded due to their tires, Brinker told KPBS Midday Edition on Monday.

Unfortunately, he said, "most folks don't have a clue when it comes to a changing a tire."

Brinker recommends learning how to change a tire but also ensuring your car has certain items — jumper cables and an extra gallon of gas, for example.

Most importantly, if your car does break down, move away from from other vehicles, he said.

"You want to get it out of the drive lane and on the shoulder, out of harm's way," Brinker said.

Brinker said he's provided more than 2,000 free roadside assists as a hobby. Brinker said he's learned everything about cars from "trial and error."

Emergency Kit

Here are a few items you should keep in your vehicle.

• Road atlas to determine your location — you may not always have GPS signal

• Old beach towel — to pad your knees when changing a tire

• Clean tarp — for use in lieu of beach towel when ground is wet

• Pressure gauge — and know how much air your tire requires

• Leather gloves to protect hands from exposed steel wires from blown out tires

• Set of three reflecting warning triangles

• Light-reflecting vest

• Piliers

• Jumper cables

• 1 gallon gas can

• Roll of duct tape

• Gallon of water

• Extra engine oil

• Funnels, for water and oil

• 12-volt air compressor to inflate tires to operating pressure

Source: Walt Brinker


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